Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Scott Davis Howard

Scott Davis Howard

Tell me about yourself, Scott.

I hold an MA in British literature from the University of Montana, a BS in communications from Norwich University, am an Agnes Meyer Teacher of the Year nominee, and was a semifinalist in the 2014 Norman Mailer Writing Contest for Educators. I'm at 12th grade English teacher at Patriot High School in Nokesville, VA and thus spend my days regaling my students with thrilling tales about Beowulf, Sir Gawain, Macbeth, and Dorian Gray. I'm married and have two sons. My wife coaches Field Hockey at Kettle Run High School. When I'm not grading papers, I'm generally ferrying my offspring between the soccer field and Cub Scout meetings. In my rare moments of quiet (when the children are eating snacks in the van, sprinkling crumbs all over the carpet), I often wonder when and how I became a soccer mom. I wrote the original draft of my debut novel, "Three Days and Two Knights," on an outdated laptop, standing in my kitchen with an infant strapped to my chest.

What else? I'm a Vermont native and I've lived in Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, Montana, and Virginia. I'm a history buff and really enjoy medieval history and literature, the civil war, WWII (especially naval and aviation), and classical Greek, Roman, and Egyptian history. My favorite classic authors are JRR Tolkien, John Steinbeck, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, the Beowulf Poet, Shakespeare (duh), and Robert Frost. The modern authors that I most admire are Steven Pressfield, Colleen McCullough, Neil Gaimen, Ken Follett, and Bernard Cornwell.

Tell me about your current book?

Three Days and Two Knights is published by The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction, a local Virginia press. My editor thoughout the whole process has been Robert Scott, Prince William County's poet laureate. He's an author, teacher, and a bit of a local celebrity. I couldn't have done this without his help, so I wanted to give him a shout out, too.

Three Days and Two Knights is a is a genre crossover that blends fantasy-adventure, comedy, and romance in a historical literary setting.

“Few tales tell of heroes and dragons, knights and giants, magic, miracles, love, a banshee, and the undead . . .” So begins Aelfric the Entertainer, this tale’s invasive, witty, and often philosophical narrator. Set on the moors of Scotland in the waning months of Arthur’s rule, "Three Days and Two Knights" tells how Sir Alanbart, an impoverished and spineless knight; Heather, an indomitable and irresistible serving maid; Scot, a pagan swordsman of questionable intelligence and sexuality, and Sir Gawain, the legendary romantic hero, form an unlikely alliance to free King Arthur from prison. The catch? They have just three days before the blue moon rises, at which time the red wizard Rabordath will use Arthur’s blood to conjure a dragon that will end a kingdom and set all of Britain aflame.

"Three Days and Two Knights" features characters, settings, artifacts, and events drawn from medieval myth and history, and will appeal to anyone who loves the middle ages, knights, monsters, magic, or King Arthur, especially those who grew up with "The Hobbit," Percy Jackson, and Cressida Cowell’s "How to Train Your Dragon" series.

That's the official blurb, anyway. Basically, the book is a 100,000 word medieval adventure that incorporates a whole lot of action, some romance and comedy, alongside history and philosophy. When King Arthur is captured, the three primary heroes must band together to save him, facing increasingly dangerous (and often humorous) situations. I don't want to give anything away, but there *cough, cough* may be a dragon toward the end.

What are you working on now?

Right now I've got a number of projects on the stove. I'm working on a children's story (in ballad stanza) about toys that come to life and engage in an epic war with a house-cat. I've got an idea for a middle-grade fantasy story set in essentially a mythologized medieval world with geography resembling the American west. I'm also considering writing a followup to Three Days and Two Knights.

Where do you write?

I wrote most of the book standing in the kitchen with an infant strapped to my chest, asleep. I had the laptop up on the stove-top, and I rocked back and forth while I wrote. Occasionally, I sipped tea (usually green tea with jasmine). I wouldn't say that is my favorite place to write, but the truth is that it doesn't matter where one writes, but rather that one does write. The book never gets finished otherwise.

What are your favorite websites?

My favorite website would probably be Wikipedia, because the answers to literally everything are just hanging there in cyberspace, waiting to be found, but since that is a bit obvious and bland, I'm going to go with . I don't have a whole lot of time to play video games, but when I find a few minutes, their site has an online (free) emulator that can play just about any 80's or 90's game for the NES, SuperNintento, Sega, GameBoy, or Arcade. It's free nostalgia.


Author Page:

Images that Inspire

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Quotes of the Week

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
—Robert Frost

When you write—explode—fly apart – disintegrate! Then give time enough to think, cut, rework, and rewrite
—Ray Bradbury

One has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
—Anton Chekhov

Half my life is an act of revision.
—John Irving

Characters are not created by writers. They pre-exist and have to be found.
—Elizabeth Bowen

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.
—Erica Jong

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.
—Neil Gaiman

Write hard and clear about what hurts.
—Ernest Hemingway

The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to greet unknown fate.
—O. Henry

The author should keep his mouth shut when his work begins to speak.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting to Six: An Interview with Martin Wilsey

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed for the Podcast Getting to Six. This show is hosted by Donna Lewis with Charlie Birney.

This is Part One, of a Three Part interview, where we discussed priorities, Facebook, how I became a writer, what it's like to work full time and still write two books a year.

We had a lot of fun talking about work and death and writing when high on Vicodin.

--Give it a Listen!

Tuesday Tips: Backups

Today's tip is the most boring, most important tip of all. Maintaining Backups.

Some people will stop reading this post already. They will be saying, "Yeah yeah yeah, I know."

One of my life rules says, Every now and then consider the worse case scenario and prepare for it.

My house burned down when I was a kid. Are your projects safe if that happens? Maybe, a virus eats your computer?  Your laptop might get stolen?

I used a multi-layered approach:
  • Auto-save. This will keep you from losing the last two hours of work because you lost power.
  • Version control. I use Scrivener that does full copies at significant points in my stories.
  • On-site backups. Have a second location location on your home network. This is good if your computer fails.
  • Off-site backups. I use Cloud based services for this.
  • Create a .bat file to do copies on startup.
All of these should be don't automatically.

One final thing I do is I email my doc to myself at the end of each writing session. Some people even set up a special GMail account for their backups emails.

--Stop what you are doing and run a backup NOW!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Read: Snow Crash

Last week I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

Here is the description from Amazon:

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately.

It's commentary is often funny and over the top. Rating = 4 of 5

-- It is a good read for all scifi fans.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Sue Rovens

Sue Rovens

Tell me about yourself, Sue?

Sue Rovens is a suspense/horror indie author who enjoys writing eerie and disturbing stories. She also turns into a quivering blob at the sight of most animals. Sue enjoys collecting antique advertising, old radios and clocks, watching movies, reading, and cheese. She also runs, but doesn't enjoy it all that much.

Tell me about your current Book:

BADFISH IS A TOWN DROWNING IN ITS OWN CIRCLE OF HELL. Misogynist motel owner Karl Demetris has an insatiable desire for money and power. In order to line his pockets, he leads an underground drug ring, but soon discovers a cheaper substance to peddle. The effects on its victims are ghastly and horrifying.

Strip club owner and public masturbator extraordinaire, Donald Bickley, is the only person in a position to stop this atrocity. Though he has his own demons to battle, the future of Badfish rests in his sticky hands. Donald will need to pull himself together long enough to save the town.

Badfish is an eclectic and quick read. It truly is like nothing you’ve read before. It melds drugs, strippers, masturbation and a horrific motel together – and it works. The motel is based on a REAL one from the author’s  personal experience.

What are you working on now?

A novel (probably will be the same length as Badfish) about a haunted train station in Germany.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

Anyplace that’s quiet.

What is your favorite Website?



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Quotes of the Week

Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can come together.
—Marilyn Monroe

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
—Arthur Miller

Try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
—Zadie Smith

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen
—J Steinbeck

Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
—Mark Twain

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
—Ernest Hemingway

I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live.
—Françoise Sagan

I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.
—Cheryl Strayed

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.
—Virginia Woolf

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
—Stephen King

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
—Jack London

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tuesday Tips: Brainstorming

The very first stop on my entire process is random brainstorming.

I always do this in long hand on paper. My only constraint has become the fact that I always use lined, 8.5x11 notebook paper. If it is not 3-Hole punched I will punch it.

Every page is dated and will go into a notebook later, sorted by date. Some times it will also have a topic in the header if I was Brainstorming about a specific topic like future weapons, FTL drive technology, prisons of the future, fictional religions, etc. Every page finds it's way into the ideas binder.

This binder is gold...

Mostly the Brainstorms are random. One line might be a cool character name. This might be followed by a plot idea. That may be followed by what might be in the pockets of a security chief in the future. The point is to let it flow.

Keep it handy because random stuff happens during any typical day. Something interesting about food. A fat guy can more easily conceal a handgun. The AI on your phone recognizes someone else's voice. Random fashion all the time.

Eventually Brainstorms begin to cluster into concepts, plots, characters, twists, settings and in the end the brainstormed single line plot that is the beginning of the Outlining Process.

Another Brainstorm tool is a random notes folder on my PC. Electronic brainstorming can come in many forms: Saved images, pieces of music, maps, links, or any other random thing that might give you an idea from the computer.

--All this becomes excellent fodder for the writers mind.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Brandon Sanderson on Writing

Jason Winn, another writer in my Sunday Science Fiction and Fantasy writers group pointed me at this series: 

 --Lots of good tips for a beginning writer.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Dora Ilieva

Dora Ilieva

Tell me about yourself, Dora?

Dora Ilieva is my pen name. I was born and raised in Bulgaria where I studied English in university. I have a husband and three kids. My family and I moved to Canada some time ago and we currently reside in Toronto where I work as a teacher. I love to read and write and I also love languages. Another hobby of mine is travelling and I try to indulge myself whenever my finances permit it. And if I can’t, I pick up a book and read about the country that I want to visit. It’s not quite the same, but it’s more or less satisfactory.

Tell me about your current Book:

When Professor Kirilov dies, a Sam must change his plans of leaving the country, or risk losing his cousin as well.
A common trip becomes a vortex of life threatening events. Nightmares come true. Thracian mysteries, the curse of Orpheus’s lyre, the cunning and ruthlessness of the KGB blend into a powerful whirlwind from which there seems to be no escape. Would Sam and Kossara beat the odds and save the ancient artefact from the steely hands of the scariest organization in the world?

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a new thriller which will take the reader to the Middle Ages and to one of the most secretive societies in the world – the Bogomils.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I can write anywhere – kitchen, café, patio, airplane. Once I get going almost nothing can stop me. I do have a favorite armchair, though.



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reading: Mile 81

This week I read Mile 81 by Stephen King.

This was a fun short story in classic King fashion. Here is the description from Amazon:

With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, Mile 81 is Stephen King unleashing his imagination as he drives past one of those road signs...

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded up rest stop on a highway in Maine. It's a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It's the place where Pete Simmons goes when his older brother, who's supposed to be looking out for him, heads off to the gravel pit to play "paratroopers over the side." Pete, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out.

Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn't been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says "closed, no services." The driver's door opens but nobody gets out.

Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls "the ultimate insurance manual," but it isn't going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates.

Ten minutes later, Julianne Vernon, pulling a horse trailer, spots the Prius and the wagon, and pulls over. Julianne finds Doug Clayton's cracked cell phone near the wagon door — and gets too close herself. By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are a half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. Two kids — Rachel and Blake Lussier — and one horse named Deedee are the only living left. Unless you maybe count the wagon. 

--I really enjoyed this. Plus the bonus short DUNE was great as well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Quotes of the Week

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
--Milton Berle 

The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best.
--Will Rogers 

Always be nice to those younger than you, because they are the ones who will be writing about you.
--Cyril Connolly

Bureaucrats write memoranda both because they appear to be busy when they are writing and because the memos, once written, immediately become proof that they were busy.
--Charles Peters

Television has raised writing to a new low.
--Samuel Goldwyn

Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.
--David Sedaris

In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.
--George Orwell

It is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one's thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone else with them.
--Isabel Colegate

The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
--Russell Baker

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
--Friedrich Nietzsche


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday Tips: Focus

I have learned that one of the biggest roadblocks on the way to getting your novel published is the inability to focus.

Distractions come in two different kinds with me: Internal and External.

Both of these are cured with discipline.

External Distractions:
  • Television
  • Facebook
  • The Internet
  • People
Internal Distraction:
  • Too many projects all at once
  • Waiting for the Muse
  • Lack of planning
  • Lying to yourself
  • Fear of failure
External distractions are the easy ones to fix. To focus, you need to turn off the TV. Having it on as background noise is bullshit. It is the same with Facebook/email/texts/phone or the Internet in general. Don't lie to yourself about it during your writing time. Writing time should be regular and sacred. People need to know that during your writing time you will be offline. No conversations. Some people, especially those with small children, cannot write at home. This is a major reason coffee shops are so popular for writers. After a while, you will have a Pavlovian association with writing in your writer's place.

Internal distractions are the hard ones. I was once crippled by having too many projects going all at once. Don't lie to yourself. ALL of those projects will suck because of lack of focus. I discovered the best method for me was to work on writing one Novel at a time on my computer and one Outline in long hand. I keep a notebook of those random ideas that hit, but NEVER start another project. Do not lie to yourself that it helps with writers block. The Muse is a lie. Writers Block is a lie. It is all Fear. Writing inspiration can only be found in work and discipline. DO NOT LIE TO YOURSELF. All your excuses are bullshit.

Finish things.

If you have the goal to actually publish not just one novel, but several, as a writer, carve out a place to write where you can focus. Carve out a method that allows you to finish one book before moving on to the next. Keep your mind focused on the goal.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Back from Vacation

Fellow Author Roberta Worthington roasting a marshmallow.
I am back from vacation and re-entering the routine.

I kind of like it.

My latest novel, Blood of the Scarecrow was published. I pressed the release button just before vacation began.

I didn't do any writing while on vacation but I did do some story telling. I sent two kids to bed in tears with my ever so creepy stories. Mission accomplished.

Today I will shift to writing Proper Darkness. My next stand alone novel. I restrict myself to working on two projects at one time. One is writing, one is outlining. I am 20,000 words into the next book and the outline is already a draft 24 hand written pages. Fun Times.

-Off to work. More Coffee. Happy Monday.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


I have been on vacation for a week now. I love going on vacations. I enjoy the being lazy and relaxing and eating too much.

I miss writing.

I miss the flow of it from my mind to the page.

I miss the coffee from my home pot.

I miss my cat Bailey snuggled up next to me.

--I guess I will suffer through this vacation thing for one more day.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Elí Freysson

Elí Freysson

Tell me about yourself?

I was born in northern Iceland in 1982, and spent a portion of my early youth in Norway before moving back home. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in the late 90’s, explaining a lot about my personality: I’m just enough of a shut-in weirdo to write books. :-) Not really knowing what to do with my life after graduating high school in 2004, I finally began trying to write in earnest. Teaching myself the craft was a long, slow process, but I got my first novel relased in Iceland seven years later. I ended up publishing four more in my native country, before moving to translating my work in 2015, and publishing on Amazon. This year I’m finally writing brand-new material in English, and I’m heading to college in the fall. So things are getting interesting, on my end of things.

Tell me about your current Book:

Fill in the blanks: When the king of the Realm of the Glorious Dawn is assassinated, a military man must escape the capital planet with the young heir, or the ancient Realm will be lost to a murderous usurper.
The interstellar Realm of the Glorious Dawn has endured for eight centuries, providing stability and law in the wake of the Long Darkness. Now the assassination of king Tunus has plunged the Realm into civil war. From the heart of the Realm to its borders and beyond, people of every strata are swept up in the greatest tempest in lifetimes.
The Marshal:
The head of the Royal Military witnesses the death of his king. Defying the initial shock, Marshal Beren realizes the future of the Realm suddenly depends on his immediate reaction. Vary of further assassinations, he initiates a desperate flight from the Realm’s capital planet with the sole heir in tow, hoping to salvage what he can.
Please attach a Cover photo.

What are you working on now?

I am working on The Golden Throne. It is something of an experiment in storytelling. It’s an epic space opera, telling the story of a nine-year long space war of succession, through eleven different shorts, each about a different character having an adventure in a different part of the galaxy. The ongoing war and certain recurring characters form an ongoing metaplot. I have started releasing entries, but I’ve quite fallen in love with the setting and am already almost done lining up the sequel.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I find that I do my best writing down at my local café, with a nice cup of tea and a notepad. Getting out of the house does wonders for my brain.

What is your favorite Website?

Deviantart can be a lot of fun, but about the only site I actually socialize on is It’s a great little community.



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Quotes of the Week

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean.
—Robert Louis Stevenson

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.
—Anne Lamott

A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.
—Oscar Wilde

Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.
—Ray Bradbury

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
—Herman Melville

The only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.
—Richard Peck

Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.
—P.D. James

Writing: it comes out of afflictions, out of the gouged times, when the heart is cut open.
—Edna O'Brien

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
—Lawrence Kasdan

You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.
—William Gibson

The hardest thing about being a writer is convincing your wife that lying on the sofa is work.
—John Hughes

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Life of a Story

When I first started this blog and this story I was thinking that I would simply self publish it to Kindle just to be able to easily share it with my friends and family.

This is the original cover I made for the story of Roland Barcus, maintenance guy number 42.

As time went by I found that I truly loved to write. I love to drink coffee and make stuff up. I never expected for people to enjoy reading it as much I I enjoyed writing it.

I write the kind of stories I like to read. Something with hard scifi, action, adventures, emotions, conflict, well developed characters and even a bit of romance amongst the genocide!

My book quickly became a trilogy.

While I was writing I began learning about the publishing industry. I learned a lot. My original title was "FALLING" and I learned to search Amazon for your title and found hundreds of romances with the same title. I met and talked to authors, agents and publishers and learned about Independent Authors and Print on Demand Publishing. I some how stumbled my way through and never expected to be so successful.

Both of my first two novels Hit number 1 in the Hard Science Fiction categories on Amazon.

Then I learned about the glorious world of Audio Books on Once again I stumbled through and managed to navigate the process and find a great producer to make wonderful unabridged audio editions of my books for Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

Today I am on vacation feeling very fortunate. I wanted to thank all my readers around the world for your interest and support.

And my cat Bailey. Best cat in the known universe...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Now on Sale: Blood of the Scarecrow

Blood of the Scarecrow: 
Solstice 31 Saga - Book 3

I am pleased to announce the release of the third volume of the Solstice 31 Saga Trilogy!
If you are interested in a copy signed by the author, please send an email to

Here is the Trilogy:

I need some today!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Chad Descoteaux

Chad Descoteaux

Tell me about yourself, Chad?

I am a 37-year-old self-published author from Rhode Island who has published five science fiction books for the Amazon Kindle.  I write science fiction with really “out there” premises, but that have relatable characters.  My goal is to make the weird and absurd relatable, because that is the way that I see the world day-to-day.  This format allows me to comment humorously on things I see around me.  I love science fiction movies, comic books and animation.  I work for UPS.  I have Aspergers and I am married.

Tell me about your current Book:

When a paparazzo uncovers an alien invasion plot, he must team up with his estranged girlfriend to stop the aliens that abducted him when he was six.

Barry Young was abducted by aliens when he was six, an experience he does not remember. He can only piece together what happened that night by what his best friend Scott (who was also abducted) tells him.  Barry is also a paparazzo. He is the best in his business, using elaborate costumes to get high-paying celebrity pics. One night, Barry uncovers evidence of an alien invasion that his ex-girlfriend, new reporter Nikki Graves, has also been assigned to cover. Together, these two estranged exes are hot on the trail of an alien invasion plot twenty Earth years in the making. Will they stop the invasion? Will being thrown together in this assignment help them understand each other in way they couldn't before? And what about conspiracy theorist Eddie Schultz, who has been on the trail of these aliens the entire time, publishing his findings in a tabloid "rag" called....THE TATTLER???

What are you working on now?

I am working on a sequel to ‘The Inter-Terrestrial’.  It is called ‘Dookimon: The Inter-Terrestrial: volume two’.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

My office, which is filled with posters of things that imspire me.

What is your favorite Website?

Monkeys Fighting Robots.  Great site for sci-fi movie/comic book geeks


Official website: